Rights panel pulls up cops for fettering suspect in police lockup

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Bhubaneswar: Taking strong exception to a suspect being fettered in police custody, Odisha Human Rights Commission has ordered the Odisha director general of police for initiation of disciplinary proceedings against cops of a police station in Cuttack district.

Human rights activist Biswapriya Kanungo had drawn the attention of the rights panel alleging that Mahanga police had unlawfully detained one Jagannath Das in police lockup handcuffing the accused. The victim was meted out both physical and mental torture as he had not committed any cognizable offence.

The human rights panel had ordered probe into the ‘unsavoury’ episode by the investigation Wing of the Commission. The commission taking cognizance of probe findings furnished by the investigating wing issued directions the DGP to take appropriate steps to take to task against two policemen who had fettered the accused.

“The liberty of the victim Das was curtailed by putting him under fetters ad it smacks off highhandedness on part of the accused police officers despite the direction of the apex court. There are numerous instances where in a routine manner without any specific orders of the magistrate, the police are handcuffing persons who are picked up even on suspicion of commission of an offence, and the present case is one of such examples”, Justice B. K. Mishra, acting chairman of the rights commission, adjudicating the matter ruled.

It needs no emphasis that the guarantee of human dignity forms part of our Constitutional culture as embodied in Articles of 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India. Even a prisoner is a person and not an animal. Handcuffing is prima facie inhuman and, therefore, unreasonable. To bind a man in hand and foot, fetter his limbs with hoops of steel, shuffle him along in the street and stand him for hours in the courts is to torture him, and defile his dignity, the commission observed.

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